Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (Wii U)
In the beginning of a review I tend to talk about the story if there is one, but despite how recently I've played Darksiders, I can't remember much of it. War, one of the four apocalyptic riders, got screwed over by someone and has to suck up to some elders of some sort while he goes on a journey of revenge.
I wasn't a fan of the button mapping, so it took quite some time until I got used to the loaded controls of Darksiders. The gameplay is reminiscent of Zelda with more complex combat that doesn't shy away from bloody finishing moves during which animations play out automatically and War is invincible. The main portion of the campaign is about retrieving the hearts of four chosen ones where you visit a bunch of dungeons and find a handful of useful items. The scale is smaller than in a Zelda game, but that works in Darksiders' favor because it tends to operate on the verge of repetition with its tasks. Most notorious is the portal ability late in the game that feels way overused, as is everything in the dungeon you find it in.
Unlike in Darksiders 2, you do not constantly find new weapons here, so tiresome inventory management is non-existent and the Gamepad screen shows exactly the same thing that is on TV. The three weapons you have can level up a few times for marginal increases in strength. Souls, the currency in the game, are used to buy and upgrade a variety of new attacks. Unfortunately, the souls you earn are nowhere near enough to buy everything and there's no new game+ to carry things over. I looked up a FAQ for the PS3 version of the original release and apparently numerous collectibles have reduced trade value in the Warmastered Edition, making the player lose out on quite a lot of money in the process.
Overall, I enjoyed Darksiders for stretches, but the framerate isn't close to stable. At least it's nowhere near as bad as in the Wii U version of Darksiders 2 which had constant tearing on top of a really shaky framerate. Still, the technical execution is lackluster here; I had the game freeze up five times in my playthrough of 15 hours. That's too often to brush it off as nothing.
|Controls||10||The control scheme isn't intuitive, so it takes some time
to get used to it. Scripted finishers for invincibility.
|Gameplay||A mixture of The Legend of Zelda and God of War without the
depth of either. It works, but lacks own ideas.
|Story||The gist of it is that War is badass and a really tough guy.
Works for a teenager audience, but is as shallow as a puddle.
|Single-player||Segments like the railshooter sequence and the overabundance
of portal puzzles drag down an otherwise decent game.
|Graphics||Not as shoddy of a port job as Darksiders II, but framerate
drops are all too common in busy areas.
|Sound||The soundtrack wants to convey epic moments,
but ends up being entirely forgettable.
|Value||15 hours is a good value for a cheap remastered release.
Surprisingly sensible by the publisher.
|Replay Value||There's a hard mode, but Darksiders isn't particularly interesting.
It's more of a once-and-done affair.
|Score||5||Lacking technical execution affects the score negatively, but
the first Darksiders is better than the second one all around.